Early Tuesday March 22, explosions inside the Brussels airport and a metro station in Belgium killed at least 30 people whose identities have not been revealed, the BBC reports.
Brussels authorities announced yesterday that no flights are allowed in or out of Brussels “for the next 48 hours.” One of those stranded, Minister of Education, George Werner, posted a picture revealing two international officials based in Liberia, who were also at the scene. All three are safe.
“The lady in clear view is Dr. Margaret Kilo, African Development Bank Representative in Liberia. The man with the charcoal jacket and white shirt is the WHO Representative in Liberia. We were companions on the road at Brussels today,” stated Werner. “Human security is an interesting concept, as the security of the state. Humans’ sense of their own security is even more interesting. It’s always good to watch one’s steps to avoid being in harm’s way…Any moment could be that moment.
Be ready at all times, it is said in Christian Scriptures, for no one knows the day or the hour,” he added.
Also present, but unhurt was Taa Wongbe who stated via FaceBook, “Bomb explosion at Brussels airport. Apparent terrorist activity. Airport is on lockdown and being evacuated. Staying safe,” he posted.
Lloa Bass, a Liberian woman who is a plaintiff in a sexual assault case in Liberia, said she was also at the airport waiting her flight to London.
“I am in Brussels and was at the airport when the attack happened and the reality of it all is shocking,” she said. “The airport is shut down and so are the trains for the next 48 hours. After the panic and instructions to move to the end of the terminal, because of ammunition being used and bombs, hours of standing outside and being bused around, we’ve been taken to a school. I’ve since been relocated.”
Hip-Co artist Skoolboy Weezy, who is returning to Liberia from the United States on visit, was also on the scene, but has yet to comment on the experience.
Isaac Yeah, Minister Counselor for Press and Public Affairs at the Liberian Embassy in Brussels posted: “So far Amb. Isaac W. Nyenabo and the staff of the Liberian Embassy near Brussels, Belgium are all fine and doing well in the wake of the incident at the airport.”
Brussels Airport is the biggest travel hub for Africans going to Europe and the United States. Brussels Airlines has been Liberia’s leading travel partner for decades, spanning the nation’s 14-year civil war. During the Ebola epidemic that rocked Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, Brussels Airlines was at a point the only flight into and out of Liberia conveying medical personnel, supplies and other aid to fight the epidemic.
The explosions happened in quick succession shortly after 07:00 a.m. with some victims reportedly hit by the second blast as they tried to escape the first.
Another bomb was later found and destroyed in a controlled detonation at the scene.
About an hour after the airport blasts, another explosion struck the Maelbeek metro station near the European Union (EU) headquarters.
Belgian officials put the death toll from both attacks at over 30, with at least 11 killed at the airport and about 20 at the metro station.
Almost 200 people have been injured, many of them severely.
“This is a day of tragedy, a black day,” Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said. “I would like to call on everyone to show calmness and solidarity.”
An online statement from the Islamic State, claiming responsibility for the attacks, said the locations were “carefully selected” and warned of worse to come for “Crusader states allied against the Islamic State.”
Belgium has raised its terrorism alert to its highest level. Three days of national mourning have been declared.
Police are carrying out raids on suspected jihadists across the country, the prosecutor said.
World leaders have sent condolences and messages of solidarity.
US President Barack Obama called the blasts “outrageous attacks against innocent people” while the 28 EU leaders in a joint statement said, the bombings were an “attack on our open, democratic society.”